Blog Entry

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 11:44 am
 

By Brian Stubits

If the Detroit Red Wings aren't in the Eastern Conference next season, there is going to be one angry owner.

Ever since the Atlanta Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets and moved to Manitoba, realignment became an inevitability. And since the beginning of time (OK, the creation of the conferences), Detroit has wanted to be in the East. The long plane rides and late-night games that go past midnight back home aren't necessarily ideal.

Mike Ilitch, the Red Wings owner, has been incredibly vocal about his team's desire to move. Now he says he downright expects it because Gary Bettman promised him as much. In a Q&A with Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News, Ilitch explained the conversation.

Q. OK, once and for all, are you gonna get the Wings out of the Western Conference or not?
A. The commissioner (Gary Bettman) promised me I was next. We even had a meeting over lunch this past season, and he had all his people here, and he goes, 'Yeah, I promised Mike he'd be the next one to go in the Eastern Conference.' So I expect to be in next year. Jimmy D (Devellano) is on the phone every other week reminding them.

(By the way, Ilitch also said they are working on a new arena to replace the Joe, saying "we're going to have a new arena.")

My guess is that might have been a case of Ilitch hearing what he wanted to hear. It's certainly possible that Bettman made such a promise to him, but I'm not ready to go all-in on that being correct. What's more, no matter if Bettman promises it, it still has to be approved by a 2/3 majority of the board of governors. Now whatever Bettman and crew say usually goes, but it's still not a guarantee.

Remember, there will be a lot of opposition to the Red Wings from the teams in the West. No team in the conference draws as well as Detroit on the road. When you start talking money, people get a little more serious, and defensive.

The more I think about Detroit joining the East, the more I begin to believe they might just tear up the current format of six divisions. There's no real way Detroit slides seamlessly into the East. Do they just replace Atlanta in the Southeast? Doesn't seem right. Maybe you move Pittsburgh to the Southeast, Detroit to the Atlantic? I can't imagine Pittsburgh would like being broken up with the Flyers, Rangers, Devils and Islanders one bit.

Instead, if Ilitch is under the right belief and the Wings are flying East, I think you'd see a scenario where they bring a team, likely the Columbus Blue Jackets, with them. You then have the destruction of six division, instead having four. The only thing is that leaves you with two divisions of eight and two with seven, but with a return to the balanced schedule, it helps things.

Photo: Getty Images

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Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 6:24 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: October 2, 2011 11:01 pm
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

I can see plenty of good reasons for the Red Wings to remain in the Western Conference, but, regardless of what happens, I can't think of any good reason for Ilitch to have made this statement.



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: October 2, 2011 8:10 am
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

lol



Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: October 2, 2011 1:01 am
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

@slkaos3

If 100,000 fans cancel

Stupid to think anyone would stop watching hockey if the wings don't get moved to the Eastern Conference.  Your responses are self serving and really are weak.



You made a point stating that fans have no say, I provided reasoning to disprove it.

.....and if monkeys fly out of my buttt....



Impossible, you are too busy typing out of it.



Since: Apr 18, 2008
Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:50 pm
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

@slkaos3

If 100,000 fans cancel.....and if monkeys fly out of my buttt....

Stupid to think anyone would stop watching hockey if the wings don't get moved to the Eastern Conference.  Your responses are self serving and really are weak.

And again this and every league is about one thing and one thing only.....MONEY.  Get that thru your head.  They don't care about us, they care about how much money they can make.  if they cared at all about hovkey fans we would still have teams in Quebec, Winn (from the first time), Minn (from the first time) and so many countless others.  It's a business plan and simple.



Since: Apr 18, 2008
Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:44 pm
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

@all 3 of you.

Wings play 3 games this season with 10:30 pm starts and 2 with 10 pm starts.  Shut up about it already.  this is a breakdown of all teams and their travel schedule by game and can be sorted within the division and conference.  You guys are still wrong no matter how you want to skew the numbers.



Idiot, I know you didn't use Google for the 1935 stats because you are 95 years old and remember it right?  Read what I said in the 1934/35 season there were 9 teams.  That is correct.  St. Louis was the last to drop out of the 1935/36 season cutting the league down to 8 teams before the first game that season.  But in the year beginning 1935 there were 9 teams playing hockey in the NHL.

I get it, you want the Wings in the East.  I really hope you get it so I don't have to endure the idiot fans that root for them.  You guys cry way too much to be hockey fans. 




Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:22 pm
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

Hockey in florida is a joke , you can walk up to the arena and get great seats at any lighting or panthers game , the lighting only sell out in the playoffs and well the panthers don't get there so we can't judge them on that haha



Since: Oct 1, 2011
Posted on: October 1, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

Hockey in Florida wasn't Bettman's idea. Tampa Bay came into the league in 1991 when John Ziegler was the President and Florida was awarded their franchise in December 1992 while Gil Stein was in charge. Bettman didn't take over until summer 1993.



Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: October 1, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

Well, he thought hockey in Florida (times two!) was a good idea, so yes. Yes, he would.
Did he?    You're giving Bettman bashers a bad name I think.    Pssst, the instigator rule wasn't Gary's either.



Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:57 am
 

Wings owner Ilitch: Bettman promised move to East

Would Bettman really be stupid enough to split up the Hawks and Wings, and put five of the Original Six in one Conference? Well, he thought hockey in Florida (times two!) was a good idea, so yes. Yes, he would.


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